Sweden’s buzzing tech scene
Sweden’s buzzing tech scene is, well, buzzing! Stockholm has long been a buzzing hub of tech and software development. After all, it’s where both Spotify and Readly got started. But we shouldn’t boil down Stockholm’s software scene to just those better-known companies. The Swedish capital city is a major hub for all kinds of startups, tech jobs, and developments in IT. If you’re looking to advance your software career, it’s a great place to go.
Now, let’s start by talking about salaries. Sweden is, generally, somewhat infamous for the relatively high cost of living that you’ll have to face. However, it’s not as daunting as it might look. Taxes are, relatively, higher than they are in other major European capitals, and the cost of eating and drinking out can be higher than in, say, Dublin or London.
But, while Stockholm is in the top 50 most expensive cities in the world to live, according to Numbeo (a position that still makes it more affordable than Amsterdam, London, or Dublin, mind you) there are fringe benefits. 99 per cent of the city’s cultural and music festivals are free to enter. So too are most of its museums. City centre rents are also not too bad — about half the cost of an equivalent pad in, say, New York.
And salaries? About on a par with most European capitals. Around €45,000 per annum in the middle of the market, spiking up to around €56,000 at the higher end.
Buzzing tech scene
Now, onto the tech scene itself. It is, in a word, hopping. The city has more companies valued at €1-billion per head of population than anywhere else on Earth, bar Silicon Valley itself. “We are living in an extraordinary time, and there is no doubt that Sweden is a leader in this proud new world. The dream we had of becoming a tech community ten to 15 years ago is now becoming a reality” said Daniel Ek, Spotify co-founder.
The city is home to The Factory — a vast startup incubation campus, backed by Swedish venture capital firm Wellstreet. The Factory joins the likes of SUP46, Things, and Epicentar as one of Stockholm’s leading startup incubators. Recent startup successes include Noomi (now called Nectarine Health). They make medical monitoring wearables — and Einride, a startup developing an autonomous and remotely controlled truck system.
Sweden & social responsibilities
This being Sweden, of course, it’s not all about building up multi-billion-dollar companies and turning yourself into the next Mark Zuckerberg. There’s a strong sense of social responsibility in Sweden and in Stockholm, and that’s rubbed off on the tech development scene. Take for instance Jobbentrén. It’s a startup designed specifically to help recent immigrants find work and establish their new lives in Sweden. Although it does need to turn a profit to survive, Jobbentrén‘s founder, Dea Ahlenius told Forbes that: “We created and designed it to address a social problem – that newcomers in Sweden have a harder time getting and keeping a job. The more people we help, the more companies employ people through us. The companies we work with aren’t necessarily social businesses, but they like the idea of employing people from a socially responsible company.“
Social responsibility. A sprawling, beautiful, waterfront backed by striking architecture. Swimming in the summer, skiing in the winter. From Volvo and IKEA to Spotify and Skype. Stockholm really does have a lot going for it. It’s definitely worth you considering it as your next work destination.